Review: Upper Wharfedale Spring Sing featuring Grassington Singers, Buckden Singers and Liberatas at Grassington Town Hall. 


ONE of the most refreshing contributions of television in the last few years has been the encouragement and celebration of community choirs.

Covid too has had the unexpected effect of helping people to rediscover the sheer joy and fun of singing together.

In Grassington Town Hall recently, we were treated to not just one but three choirs.

The Grassington Singers have been together for over 40 years and are going through a renaissance with numbers rebuilding after a challenging few years and are enjoying the leadership of their young musical director Elaine Dave.

She also directs Libertas which is a male choir formed after release from the pandemic restrictions. Buckden Singers was founded in 2007 and is skilfully directed by local musician Anne Vetch.

The choirs all performed two sets of pieces independently but joined together for some ensemble numbers. It is the first time I have heard 70 voices singing together in Grassington and the effect was wonderful. Full of energy, sensitivity and musical colour.

It is easy to forget how important the accompanists are in choral work. They tend to be the forgotten heroes. In this concert the work was skilfully undertaken by Martyne White, John Cowpe and Peter Abberton.

Space does not allow a review of all the pieces and so I have picked out one from the work of each choir.

“Look to the Day” is a charming piece by John Rutter – whose work also appeared in the Coronation. Grassington Singers demonstrated some great soprano work and the whole choir built up the performance impressively.

In the haunting song “Follow the Heron” Libertas not only sang beautifully but also showed us some great versatility as two of the singers added to our enjoyment by providing violin accompaniment. In similar vein a flautist enhanced the interpretation of “Flying Free” by the talented Buckden Singers and the effect was magical.

The wonderful concert was enjoyed by a large audience. It was even necessary for the organisers to arrange some additional car parking. Live music is alive and kicking in the Dales.